It is incorrect to say that only women (or at least those with prettier profile pics) get hitch rides. There are many other factors that run through a driver’s mind before he’s willing to accept a hitch.
(Actually men have an advantage. Men are usually more flexible, more appreciative and a safer gender to pick up if you’re attached or married)
For the driver, it is usually better to drive home alone and enjoy a nice quiet drive, listening to my music rather than to pick up a stranger. The money helps, but just a couple of bucks here and there is no big deal and I’d rather not inconvenience myself or sit through a journey under the pressure of awkward silence.
These are some of the factors that run through my mind before I would accept a ride:
- Don’t “kiasu” book (get all your friends to book at the same time)
Two or three people from the same pick-up point going to the same destination. I would avoid these. Why? What if another driver accepts one of these rides…who would be the one to be cancelled?
There is also no need to do this. One request is enough, it doesn’t mean that the more people making the request, the higher the chance of being picked up. All drivers see the same screen.
2. Don’t request for “no sharing please”
Even though I don’t usually pick up multiple passengers, I also avoid these. hitch rides are meant to be shared by default. I shouldn’t be wondering if it would upset the hitcher or not.
On top of that, this request suggests that the rider may be a difficult person (even if she’s not).
3. Use Grab Pay (or other electronic payment if you’re using Ryde or GoJek)
I hate handling cash. I may not have the change and I don’t like lose bits of money in my wallet. Then there’s the risk that the hitcher would pull a “can I transfer you the money” stunt. Very unpleasant situation.
Nah, I’d rather pick someone up using electronic payment and save all this hassle.
4. Too many people? That would be tough…
Have you got two or three people in your ride, you may be avoided because it can be a bit uncomfortable for the driver. One of the most annoying things that can happen is several people chatting in the car and the driver is left out of the conversation.
5. Don’t key in ambiguous locations
I sometimes see strange locations such as “XYZ Pte Ltd” or “Blk 287”. Unless your company has a building that’s soooo prominent (such as “Istana” or “Singapore Casket” for example), it would be better if you would just go to a more prominent pick-up point.
6. Your pick up location is not a popular one
There are some locations that I would rather not pick from because they’re just so inconvenient. To improve your hitch rate, it may be better to walk a little further to a better pick up point.
These are some of the more unfavourable pickup points:
- It is in the middle of the CBD: Even driving from one building to another can cause me to be stuck for 10 minutes in congestion.
- Very niao security at drop-off: If your building’s security is rude, you might want to write in to the MCST and remind them to be a little more friendly. Friendly doesn’t mean allowing me to wait longer, just don’t be an idiot and blow whistles, clap hands, shout or make rude gestures. I’d avoid buildings where guards are annoying and just not pick from there.
- Difficult waiting locations: such as MRT stations, taxi stands etc. If you’re going to be picked up at a taxi stand, be very specific and be EARLY (not on time, be early) because it is impossible to wait at these locations, or we risk demerit points.
7. If you’re flexible, key it in the remarks, it will give you an edge
Grab’s system does not permit me to communicate with the hitcher before I accept, so unless the hitcher has communicated that he’s flexible (with pickup/drop off points, timing), I would rather ignore and pickup someone who’s on the way.
Which is a waste, because on my screen I always see someone who’s drop-off point is just beside my building and I want to ask if he’s happy to alight a short walk away. I don’t pick him just because I’m unable to communicate this.
8. If you’ve cancelled on someone before, chances are your profile is being shared around
There are several Grab hitch chat groups, Facebook groups and WhatsApp/Telegram groups that bitch about cancelled rides. And if you’ve been rude, or cancelled out on someone before…chances are your profile is being discussed and avoided.
9. Confirm it through an SMS or you risk being cancelled
It takes effort to drive to someone’s location and the last thing I want is to get there and the hitcher doesn’t show up. So I always send a text to confirm. But there are times that the hitcher doesn’t reply! So I ignore the request, treat it as cancelled and move on to pick someone else. Lo and behold, indeed the hitch was ignored… I’ll just leave it to Grab to deal with them.
10. Be friendly!
If I experienced a ride with a hitcher that treats me like a driver, then chances are I’m not going to pick up this person again. I don’t want to describe what “treating me like a driver” means, because for different people its different things. For me it’s ok if you sit behind, plug in your headphones… but I’d probably pick someone else next time.
We’re all human and I’d rather really to just drive alone than to sit through awkward silence.